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An Introduction

An Introduction

 

Someone spent time carefully polishing and shaping a lens so you can see the world around you for what it really is. Why do we stop at physical sight? Each of us has the capacity to craft our individual worldview to let us see the world as it truly is.

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Building a worldview: An Introduction

I almost died once. I’m not talking about some emotional moment when I felt lost or worried. I’m talking about a week in the ICU with doctors hovering around wondering if I was going to make it. I contracted a rare disease from handling mouse droppings while in Colorado. It kills 36% of its hosts by filling their lungs with fluids until they asphyxiate. You would think that this kind of thing would be the center of someone’s story. My wife remembers every detail of that week. My parents do too. To be honest, I don’t.

I remember wanting to go home because my girlfriend was in pain. If I recall, I watched a lot of TV. I remember having a lot of visitors. Also, I remember having peace. I wasn’t worried at all even though I probably should have been. Death wasn’t the great villain I had imagined him to be. I politely asked him to come back later, and he passed me by. It’s not that I was terrified of him. I just needed to be here to help my girlfriend through a hard time. I recently told my life’s story to a friend. If you can believe it, this little adventure didn’t make it in. An hour into the conversation, with a chuckle, I suddenly remembered the time when I almost died. I used it to explain the point I was making, and I moved on.

Why, you may ask, was I not afraid of dying? How could I live through something as terrifying as a brush with death and think little of it? The answer, I believe, lies in my worldview. Now, this little word has become hard to pin down. We have all heard it before, and it is even a cliché in some circles, but we rarely stop to ask why it matters. If you don’t have a working definition of worldview, here is a dictionary definition to get you started:

Worldview: The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

If you have glasses or contacts on, then you know what it is to not be able to see. You also thought that it was worth your while to get your eyes measured and tested. Someone spent time carefully polishing and shaping a lens so you can see the world around you for what it really is. Why do we stop at physical sight? Each of us has the capacity to craft our individual worldview to let us see the world as it truly is.

Note I say as it is. Most of us only try on one or two pairs of glasses before we decide that we can read the big E and that is enough. I wonder why. Science has only progressed this far because individuals sought to read the finer print and teach the world to do the same. If knowledge is power, then the wealth of the world is right here in front of you.

Science has only progressed this far because individuals sought to read the finer print and teach the world to do the same. If knowledge is power, then the wealth of the world is right here in front of you.

It doesn’t take a degree to see that there are many types of belief systems. Everyone seems to have their own version of the truth. One could spend a lifetime classifying them all. Even so, I am noticing one very important division: beliefs that are driven and beliefs that are driving. Most of us fall into the first category. Our beliefs are shaped by what others think. We believe many things, even if they are contradictory upon examination. What is more, we are content to do so! This can prove to be very dangerous whenever someone decides to feed us a belief for their own personal gain.

Say, for example that you are sitting in your house (in 1930s Germany) when a prominent politician (Adolf Hitler) tells you that a certain people group (The Jews) are to blame for the economy. Or, maybe you are sitting in your house (in 2017 America) when a prominent politician (Donald Trump) tells you that a certain people group (Mexican Immigrants) are to blame for the economy. (This isn’t a direct comparison or a political statement, just a reminder that historical lessons are still relevant today). If your beliefs are driven, you have no reason not to play along. You don’t know any better.

I know where it looks like I’m going with this. “Religion X is driven, Y is driving. Therefore, believe religion Y.” A classic bait-and-switch. But it’s not what I find to be true. Every nation in every time period in history has had their “default” religion. Blame Gaea, Brahma, God, or the Big Bang for making the world as it is. If it is just a historical account, then it doesn’t matter which you believe. It doesn’t even matter if it makes sense. I agree wholeheartedly with the Karl Marx’s famous statement:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

In this sense, we are right to accept any belief. They are all the same. What I need to know, however, is if we are doomed to such a worldview, or if by spending enough time with the sages we can find a worldview that truly matters.

There is such a thing as truth, and if you look hard enough and ask enough questions, you will find it.

What is a driven worldview, then? Isn’t it better to believe something easy than to question everything? Perhaps. We are like Tolkien’s hobbits, fearful creatures who dread above all else the word adventure. Out of all the hobbits Tolkien named in his book, it was those who embraced the adventure who ultimately were the main characters of the story. If the story was about a hobbit who stayed home, then I suppose the entire story would have be forgotten long ago. Read a history book. What do the main protagonists in the story of our own world have in common? Most believed in an unwavering truth, and as a result, they themselves were unwavering and strong no matter the opposition. I want to be someone like that.

So how do we get there? First, we need a desire for truth. This is the hardest part. What happens if we don’t like what we find? What happens if we don’t like the people who we are identified with? It cannot and must not sway us. We must look at the whole picture, not just one part. Just like the eye doctor, we must keep trying new lenses until we are able to read every line.

I am saying much of this for your sake, not my own. I already have invested a great deal of time and thought into this journey. My life is shaped and defined by the things I believe. I want to share that with you as well. Don’t worry, I do still have a great deal of learning to do. I would be honored if you chose to join me on this adventure. If you are the kind of person who likes to subscribe to things, please do (Button below).

If not, please drop by now and then. I’ll be expanding this for quite a while. If you don’t care to join me on this particular journey, I understand. Never let your questions go unanswered. There is such a thing as truth, and if you look hard enough and ask enough questions, you will find it. I promise you, when you do, you will know. There is nothing like that moment when the things you believe suddenly become real. Truth is, you can’t return to status quo after a moment like that. Don’t worry, though. I promise, you won’t want to.